20 Oct '11, 6pm
Are 'quantum levitation' trains in our future?
A few places around the internet are calling this phenomenon -- quantum levitation -- the first step to magical hover-trains. This is probably not true, according to my physics source (it's my husband). Maglev trains use superconducting magnets, but that's just a type of electromagnet -- it has nothing to do with the Meissner effect, which is what's being demonstrated here. Also, the disk they're levitating includes a sapphire wafer , which is maybe not a sustainable train-building material. Plus, that smoke's not for show; the effect only works when the disk is very very cold. But who cares, really? This is amazing to watch, and it's fun to imagine how it might affect our pubilc transit system.